Wednesday, March 30, 2011






TODAY'S GOSPEL: MAR. 29: Matthew 18: 21- 35



VATICAN CITY, 29 MAR 2011 (VIS REPORTS) - Made public today was a Message written by the Holy Father for a meeting of bishops who head episcopal commissions for the family and life in Latin America and the Caribbean. Their meeting is taking place in Bogota, Colombia, from 28 March to 1 April under the presidency of Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)

"As I reiterated during the Fifth General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean", the Pope writes, "the family is the value the people of those noble lands prize most highly. For this reason, the pastoral care of families has an important place in the evangelising activity of each one of the particular Churches, promoting a culture of life and working to ensure the rights of families are recognised and respected".

"Nonetheless, we sorrowfully note that families are increasingly suffering from adverse situations brought about by rapid cultural changes and social instability, by migratory flows, by poverty, by education programmes which trivialise sexuality and by false ideologies. We cannot remain indifferent before such challenges".

Benedict XVI assures the prelates that "no effort is in vain if it helps to ensure that each family, founded on the indissoluble bond between a man and a woman, carries out its mission as a living cell of society, seedbed of virtues, school of constructive and peaceful coexistence, instrument of harmony and a privileged area in which, with joy and responsibility, human life is welcomed and protected, from beginning to natural end".

"It is also worthwhile to encourage parents in their right - and their fundamental duty - to educate the new generations in faith and in the values that dignify human existence", he writes.

After then highlighting how the continental mission promoted during the fifth general conference in Aparecida, Brazil, "will serve to launch pastoral care of marriage and the family in the beloved countries of Latin America and the Caribbean", the Pope affirms that "the Church puts her trust in Christian families, calling them to play a role in evangelisation and the apostolate, and inviting them to an awareness of their valuable mission in the world".

He also encourages participants in the Bogota meeting to develop "the broad pastoral guidelines laid down by the bishops gathered in Aparecida, thus helping families to experience a profound meeting with Christ by listening to His Word, by prayer, sacramental life and the exercise of charity. In this way you will help the family to practice a solid spirituality which fosters in all its members a firm aspiration to sanctity, unafraid to express the beauty of exalted ideals and the ethical and moral requirements of life in Christ".

"To this end", the Holy Father goes on, "it is necessary to intensify the formation of everyone who, in one way or another, dedicates themselves to the evangelisation of families. Likewise, it is important to find ways to collaborate with all men and women of good will in order to continue to protect human life, marriage and the family throughout the region".

The Holy Father concludes by expressing his "affection and solidarity to all the families of Latin America and the Caribbean, especially those experiencing difficult situations".

MESS/ VIS 20110329 (550)


VATICAN CITY, 29 MAR 2011 (VIS) - The texts of the meditations for this year's Via Crucis or Way of the Cross at the Colosseum have, by order of the Holy Father, been written by Mother Maria Rita Piccione, president of the Federation of Augustinian Nuns, who resides in the Roman monastery of Santi Quattro Coronati.

The images illustrating the fourteen traditional Stations of the Cross, in the booklet and the television transmission which will accompany the Via Crucis, are the work of sister Elena Manganelli, an Augustinian nun resident in the monastery of Lecceto near Siena, Italy.


- Bishop Emmanuel Delmas of Angers, France confirmed the healing of a man at the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes.

“This healing can be considered as a personal gift of God for this man, as a fact of grace, as a sign of Christ the Savior,” the bishop said March 27.

Serge Francois, 56, had lost almost all mobility in his left leg after complications from two operations left him with a herniated disc. He made a pilgrimage to the shrine on April 13, 2002 to pray for healing.

Bishop Delmas noted that the healing took place after Francois “had finished praying at the grotto and went to the miraculous spring to drink the water and wash his face. A unique gesture of the Virgin Mary can be seen in the healing of this man,” he said.

The Spanish daily La Razon said that after Francois' recovery, he returned to Lourdes in 2003 and reported his case to the medical commission, which began its investigation.

The Lourdes Medical Commission later verified that “the rapid functional healing, unrelated to any form of treatment" was "still present, eight years later.”

Francois made a 975-mile pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, Spain in thanksgiving for his recovery.

Bishop Jacques Perrier of Tarbes and Lourdes explained that doctors are “hesitant today to use the term ‘inexplicable,’ unless they qualify it with ‘scientifically'.”

“They prefer to limit themselves to one fact: the healing is inexplicable today. They consider this qualification to be essential so they are not discredited later by colleagues who reject the inexplicable,” he said in a statement published on the Shrine of Lourdes’ website.

“Moreover,” he added, “the doctors at Lourdes always strive to be medically irreproachable. The Church herself encourages them in this.”

To commemorate the latest healing, Bishop Delmas has invited Catholics to a special Mass in Lourdes during a pilgrimage to the shrine May 3-8.


ASIA NEWS REPORT- Speaking to AsiaNews, the prelate talks about three Filipinos on death row in China for drug trafficking. They are scheduled to be executed tomorrow. A prayer vigil was held today in Manila. For the bishop, countries rely on the death penalty because their justice system has failed.

Manila (AsiaNews) – “The death penalty eliminates hope. It is a final decision that removes every possibility for change. Let us help people change without killing them. Let us put them on the right path towards rebuilding their life in society,” a Filipino bishop told AsiaNews, anonymously for security reason. The prelate was referring to China, which tomorrow will execute Sally Villanueva, Ramon Credo and Elizabeth Batain, three Filipinos convicted of importing illegal drugs to the country.

Today, Catholic bishops, priests and believers took part in a prayer vigil asking for clemency for the three drug couriers sentenced to death. The service was held at Nuestra Senora de Guia shrine in Ermita (Manila) and was organised by the Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care for Migrants and Itinerant People of the Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

The death penalty imposed on the three drug couriers is front-page news in the Philippines. According to local media, China’s justice system imposes the death penalty too easily with the risk of killing the innocent. In fact, one of the three death row inmates said under oath that she was the victim of a scam.

Many Filipino politicians have accused the president of timidity vis-à-vis Beijing, calling for talks over the case only to bow to Beijing later and declare his respect for Chinese authorities.

According to Amnesty International, China is the only country where executions are up. In 2010 alone, more than a thousand people were executed. In the rest of the world, the number of executions carried out last year was 740.

For the aforementioned prelate, many countries use or want to reintroduce the death penalty because they have a flawed justice system.

“In China and the Philippines the justice system is failing. Investigations, detention and punishment do not reflect actual justice. For the bishop, many people fall through these cracks and are sentenced to death for crimes they did not commit, or for crimes that do not deserve the death penalty.

“If the system is imperfect, why do nations like China impose something that is irreversible on their people? Oftentimes, trials are just a farce and the culprit is found innocent after his execution.”

“The Filipino Church is against the death penalty,” he explained, “because God is merciful and called upon us to love our enemies. Those who sin are under God’s mercy.”

Pleading with countries that still have the death penalty, the bishop said that “those in power who exert authorities over people ought to be forgiving and be certain that they are acting justly. Only this way can we reaffirm the sense and dignity of human life,” for “every man should hope for forgiveness and have a chance to start over.,-yes-to-help-change-those-who-err,-Filipino-bishop-tells-China-21157.html


USCCB REPORT- Bishops’ Subcommittee on Church in Latin America Approves Nearly $2 Million in Grants at March Meeting

WASHINGTON (March 28, 2011)— The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America approved nearly $2 million in grants during its March 21 meeting. The purpose of the grants is to aid the pastoral work and ministry of the Church in the region.

“Through the annual Collection for the Church in Latin America, our Bishops’ Conference is focused on building up the body of Christ by supporting pastoral formation in those parishes and communities where the resources are very scarce,” said Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, chair of the subcommittee.

Some examples of projects funded include radio equipment near the mountainous city of Bucaramanga, in Colombia. Funds from the collection replaced an antenna that will help extend the reach of the local Catholic Radio.

Also, in a year when the Maryknoll Missionaries are celebrating their 100th anniversary, the collection’s funding assists 90- year-old missionary Fr. Fred Hegarty, MM, in his quest to help the rural poor of Chile recover from the last earthquake and keep faith in challenging times.

Some grants were also made available so that a group of young people from Haiti are able to attend World Youth Day in Spain with Pope Benedict XVI.

Three main categories of projects received over 50 percent of the March 2011 grants. More than a quarter of projects funded, 27 percent, or $535,668, went to help with the formation of religious, seminarians and clergy. Youth ministry projects were awarded $270,159, or 14 percent of funds; and lay leadership formation received $238,290, or 12.21 percent.

The remaining grants were awarded across a wide range of pastoral ministries and activities including: catechesis, pro-life, indigenous ministry, women projects, migration, values education, evangelization, communications, Bible/Scripture and stewardship. Less than 1.6 percent of the recommendations were for minor building repairs or the purchase of equipment.

The Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America is part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. It provides support for the USCCB grant-making program as well as the Conference’s international policy work on Latin America. The subcommittee meets three times a year to review and make grant decisions.

More information on the Collection for the Church in Latin America can be found at


Agenzia Fides REPORT - “The humanitarian situation is dramatic because the fighting has gone on for three days,” says Bishop Gaspard Béby Gnéba, Bishop of Man, in the west of the Country, to Fides. “The conditions for people, which were already dramatic, have worsened. We do not have updated information on humanitarian conditions because the situation is always changing, with the fighting still ongoing. In addition to Duékoué, the fighting is happening in several towns and villages. The worst is in Duékoué where fighting has already been going on for three days,” continues Bishop Gnéba.
The Republican Forces, the new name of the New Forces who support President-elect Alassane Ouattara, have gone on the offensive in several areas of Côte d'Ivoire, against the security forces who remained loyal to outgoing President Laurent Gbagbo, who refuses to recognise Ouattara's victory in the second round of the elections in November 2010. Ouattara's forces have gone on the offensive in Duékoué (west), Daloa (central-west) and Bondoukou (east), in an attempt to conquer the strongholds of the regime and above all to prevent the export of cocoa, the primary asset of the Country, still controlled by Gbagbo.
“To escape the fighting, many Ivorians have fled to Liberia,” Bishop Gnéba continues. “I was contacted by Fr Joseph, a Liberian pastor, who gave me some information about the refugee situation for my diocese for those who are now in Liberia.” Fr Joseph, is now in Zwedru (Grand Gedeh), Liberia, on the border with Côte d'Ivoire. “We are counting the number of Ivorian refugees. There are many,” he tells Fides. “The Ivorian refugees are distributed around several villages in the area. We are organising assistance programs for them. We need medicine, food and staff who speak French. I speak a little because during the Liberian civil war we were the displaced persons in Côte d'Ivoire. We lived as refugees for four years in that Country. Now it's our turn to welcome our Ivorian brothers and sisters. But we need the help of the universal Church,” concludes Fr Joseph.


Cath news report- A new Jesuit primary school will open in the Sydney suburb of Redfern later this year – the first Jesuit school to be established in Australia in 60 years - for Aboriginal students, reportsProvince Express.

It will provide students with opportunities to learn in a more informal setting, in order to open up more options for them in the future.Tentatively named Jarjum College, the school will identify children who have fallen through the cracks and who are not attending school regularly due to various reasons of disadvantage.

Foundation principal Beatrice Sheen says she's honoured and excited to be involved in the project, and acknowledges that the school's success will depend to largely on the support of the people it serves.

"This college belongs to the community, the people, and that's how I want it to be run," she says.

Jarjum will offer short-term assistance to at-risk children, returning them to the mainstream schooling system wherever possible. But Beatrice concedes that once the community's precise needs are revealed, the model may change.

"[These students] have got different needs. Their learning styles are different. So the kids fall through the gaps, and that's why we're trying to close the gaps. But if we can teach them resilience and they make it to high school, then they've achieved. And if they go further, well....."

And there is no better model of resilience for the future students of Jarjum than Beatrice, a woman who left school at the age of 14 and married when she was just 17.

"My husband was 17, too. We're still together, six children later,", she says.

Beatrice discovered as a child that her father was Aboriginal – a fact hidden from her by the adults in her life. "I'm a Gamilaroi woman from Gunnedah," she says now, with pride.

The school aims to teach the children in a way that appeals to their own special strengths.

"Everything will be practical, because they won't hang around if it's airy fairy. We'll use a different pedagogy for the kids because we want them to come to school, we want to make them welcome, so it's going to be a nice learning environment."

It's a flexible approach that has extended into the community, where locals have been involved in consultation at every step of the process.

"For some of these kids, their parents are in jail, or on drugs. So they're the kids we want to pick up. You do it respectfully by talking, by going out and meeting people. Peter [Hosking SJ, Rector of St Aloysius College] and I have been going out and meeting people. And once we meet them they're okay. And then they're going, "Well, when are you opening? I've got three kids that can go there!"."



Sts. Barachisius and Jonas


Feast: March 29


Feast Day:March 29
Died:24 December 327

They were monks at a monastery in Perisa (modern Iran) and were arrested during the persecution conducted by Sassanid King Shapur II (r. 309-379). Barachisius and Jonas were giving spiritual support to other martyrs when they were taken into custody. Refusing to abjure the faith, Jonas was crushed to death, and his body cut to pieces. Barachisius had brimstone and boiling pitch poured down his throat.

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TODAY'S GOSPEL: MAR. 29: Matthew 18: 21- 35

Matthew 18: 21 - 35
21Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?"
22Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.
23"Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants.
24When he began the reckoning, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents;
25and as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made.
26So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, `Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.'
27And out of pity for him the lord of that servant released him and forgave him the debt.
28But that same servant, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat he said, `Pay what you owe.'
29So his fellow servant fell down and besought him, `Have patience with me, and I will pay you.'
30He refused and went and put him in prison till he should pay the debt.
31When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place.
32Then his lord summoned him and said to him, `You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me;
33and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?'
34And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailers, till he should pay all his debt.
35So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."

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